Fiji Time: 11:07 PM on Saturday 31 January

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Branded medicine not on price list

Elenoa Baselala
Saturday, January 15, 2011

WHILE it welcomed the new price control on medicines, the Consumer Council of Fiji is concerned that it only covered generics.

The branded medicines or "originators" were not on the list of price controlled drugs announced by the Commerce Commission yesterday.

Council chief executive officer Premila Kumar said pharmacies must ensure that generics were available to consumers at all times.

Mrs Kumar was worried that pharmacies may dictate the prices to consumers in the absence of generic medicines.

Generic medicines were usually much cheaper than originators but both had the same healing capabilities.

She said the council would monitor the market closely to ensure that pharmacies were abiding by the law.

However, Mrs Kumar said the list issued by the Commerce Commission yesterday was confusing and needed further analysis.

The commission listed 75 drugs under price control which were to be displayed by pharmacies for consumers to see.

The list had determined panadeine to cost 58 cents a tablet, while the current price was 20 cents.

Meanwhile, commission chair Dr Mahendra Reddy said they would "strictly monitor the unlawful practices of selling products using unauthorised prices".

"Any violation by pharmacies would be subject to the penalties as laid down in the Commerce Commission Decree 2010," he said.

"The commission is looking forward to working with the retailers and traders in its resolve to fully deliver the objectives of the commission as per the Commerce Commission Decree 2010."

The Fiji Pharmaceutical Association would issue a statement today.





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